How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?
June 30th, 2022
Walking helps your dog’s metabolic system and body function properly while engaging their mind and toning their muscles. But how long should I walk my dog?
How often do you walk your dog?
When deciding the amount of exercise your dog needs, a general rule of thumb is three to four 15-minute walks per day.
Starting with a 30-minute walk is recommended if it’s the first time walking your dog after being sedentary for a while.
Have you been wondering ‘how long should I walk my dog?’ Here’s everything you need to know about walking dogs.
Different dogs have different walking needs
Every dog is different, and you need to consider various factors when deciding how often you should walk your dog.
Apart from the amount of time you have to walk your dog, you can determine whether they need more frequent or fewer walks based on:
Generally, younger dogs will need more frequent walks or exercise because they have more energy than middle-aged or senior dogs.
Younger dogs are more active and spend more time playing than older ones, but there are always exceptions to this rule.
Remember, older dogs may have lower stamina because of health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, muscle atrophy, or hypothyroidism.
They may be eager to go but might not be able to keep up physically.
Each dog belongs to a particular breed, and each breed has specific activity needs, requirements, and limitations.
Sporting, working, or herding breeds have higher exercise requirements.
Some dogs are bred to be lap dogs or companion dogs, such as chihuahuas, while others are natural athletes. Your dog’s individual preferences can also determine whether they lead active lives. Some may be couch potatoes, while others prefer to be more active.
For the couch poataoes, we recommend our dog couch blanket.
Chihuahuas and other small dog breeds are not high-energy dogs and prefer short walks.
Dog owners should avoid hours of intense activity with such small dogs and instead opt for shorter daily walks and short periods of fun games to keep them physically fit.
Your dog’s energy level will determine how much daily exercise or physical activity they can tolerate.
An active dog in excellent physical health can go hiking for hours at a time or for longer walks for up to 2 hours.
However, it may be challenging for obese or overweight dogs to walk for a few minutes without panting heavily or taking multiple breaks due to exertion.
You need to monitor your dog’s energy level based on their current health state to determine how long you should take them for daily walks.
You can do this by taking your dog for a walk and seeing how energetic they are.
Consider how your dog starts off and after how long they start to slow down.
When tired, you may notice that they start to pant more and take more interest in their surroundings, like sniffing or looking around more instead of eagerly striding forward.
Monitor your dog’s pace when going back home. Does your dog slow down more, or is it keeping up at a slower pace?
Slowing down may mean you’ve walked your dog too far, and your daily walks may need to be shorter because you must account for the time it takes to walk back home.
Watch your dog’s behavior once you’re back home after the walk. If they crash into their bed immediately and don’t move for hours or drink lots of water, they may be over-exerted.
We recommend the Calming Dog Bed for your dog as it proven to reduce dog stress, anxiety and exhaustion.
It may be too much exercise if you notice your dog limping during the walk or after resting during longer walks.
These high-energy breeds are a more suitable match for an active person’s lifestyle and can benefit from more frequent walks:
- Border Collies
- Australian Shepherds'
- Labrador Retrievers
Less active dog breeds that are okay with one or two shorter daily walks include:
- Great Danes
Dogs with health conditions, illnesses, weight issues like obesity, or injuries may have limited stamina for walks.
Despite having physical conditions that can slow them down, you still need to engage less active dogs in some sort of physical activity, like shorter walks to maintain their mental and physical health.
If your dog is healthy, you can gradually increase its exercise tolerance. Don’t expect your dog to run, walk, hike for hours or go for long walks if they’ve been sedentary for a while.
Take it easy, gradually increasing the amount of exercise weekly to build up stamina and condition the body to avoid pain and injury.
Always base the duration, intensity, and frequency of walks on your dog’s characteristics. For example, brachycephalic dogs, which feature flat faces and wide skulls, such as bulldogs, pugs, and boxers, should only be taken for shorter walks because of their trouble breathing.
Brachycephalic dogs have narrow nostrils, smaller airways, larger tongues, and multiple folds in their throats. Such unique physiology makes it challenging to pant enough to cool off.
Benefits of walking your dog
Walking your dog is a big part of your life as a pet parent. A simple walk is a fantastic bonding experience that can benefit you and your pup in various ways. These include:
Your dog needs to go outside and do its business, which is a significant reason we walk our dogs.
Adult healthy dogs need to be let out at least three to four times a day, while older dogs with incontinence problems or puppies that aren’t house trained require shorter, more frequent walks to go potty.
Dogs also pee to leave a scent trail and not just relieve themselves. They pee to communicate and mark their territory, so allow your dog enough time and freedom to sniff and determine where to pee.
Your dog may walk a reasonable distance before it’s ready to empty its bowels, and you shouldn’t expect them to do everything in a short 5-minute walk around the block.
Most dogs don’t like doing their business in their street or garden, preferring somewhere a little further afield.
Therefore, give your dog enough time to find a suitable spot and let them go potty in peace. Don’t forget those poo bags so you can clean up after them!
Your dog will become frustrated, bored, and unhealthy without enough exercise.
Regular walks provide mental stimulation and physical activity that helps prevent destructive behaviors, weight gain, and loss of muscle mass.
A walking schedule will keep your dog healthy in various ways, including:
- Weight control
Regular walks will allow your dog to burn extra calories and maintain a healthy weight.
- Joint Health
If you sit around for a long time, you’re likely to have stiff legs, and it’s the same for dogs. Keeping your dog in motion will help its joints stay in good shape.
- Digestive/urinary health
Dogs pee and poop when they take walks, and regular walks help keep them stable. It maintains their digestive and urinary health and allows them to communicate by smell.
A Good Ol' Sniff Around
Like regular exercise, sufficient time for sniffing around is equally essential for your dog’s wellbeing.
It allows your dog to process much information about the surrounding environment and will return home feeling thoroughly satisfied and calmer.
Interaction With Other Dogs
Dog walking offers your furry friend an eagerly awaited opportunity for playtime with other dogs.
Socializing is extremely important for most dogs. If both dogs are willing, you should encourage your pooch to kick back and enjoy fun playtime with four-legged friends.
What kind of sports can I do with my dog?
You can physically and mentally challenge your dog by doing various sports with them. These include:
- Running with your dog
- Agility training
- Dog tricks
- Rally obedience
- Intelligence games
Before you begin any sport or exercise program with your dog, consult your veterinarian to establish an appropriate plan based on your dog’s age, breed, and condition.
People Also Ask
How many walks a day does a dog need?
A walk per day can be enough for smaller dogs, but high-energy dogs require more than one walk per day.
Do I need to walk my dog every day?
Yes! It can improve their health and quality of life while allowing you to bond with them.
Is 2 walks a day enough for a dog?
It depends on their age, breed, health, and energy level. Three to four walks a day for at least 15 minutes are recommended for healthy dogs.
Is it cruel to not walk a dog every day?
No. A day or more of rest may be precisely what your dog needs for physical or psychological reasons like injuries, upset tummies, anxiety, stress, or fear. Skipping a day or two can allow your dog to rest and decompress.
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